Seed Traders Association of Malawi (STAM) has advised farmers to buy seeds through authorized agro-dealers only to avoid being duped by unscrupulous traders who sell fake seeds that lead to miserable crop yields.
STAM has since assured farmers that there are enough high quality certified maize seeds of about 18 324 metric tonnes and 6 052 metric tonnes of legumes in the country through authorized agro-dealers.
The association came up with this advice remarks ahead of the 2018/19 farming season following the recent rolling out of the season’s Farm Input Subsidy Program (FISP).
STAM chairperson John Lungu said: “These seeds are more than enough for the commercial market and FISP. So, no farmer should worry about certified high quality seeds,” Lungu told journalists in Lilongwe on Tuesday.
Lungu and his fellow STAM executive members acknowledged the proliferation of fake seeds at the start of every farming season, a situation they said is affecting many farmers’ crop yields.
He said fake seeds could literally be whole farm grains, painted and well packaged as if produced by registered and authorized seed companies.
Unscrupulous vendors, sometimes, mix these fake seeds with a small portion of the certified seed varieties in their quest to rob the unsuspecting poor farmers.
“We urge farmers to buy seeds only at registered and authorized agro-dealers. They should ask for the agro-dealer’s license and their contract with a company which is supplying them the seeds,” Lungu advised.
STAM, with a membership of 27 seed companies in Malawi, encourages its member companies to reach out to as many farmers as possible with high quality certified seeds.
According to STAM’s secretary general Nessimu Nyama, the association in collaboration with the government’s Seed Service Unit and the police, conduct routine market monitoring to check and flush out fake seeds.